Lola Rios Gutierrez and her family celebrated a birthday Tuesday complete with birthday cake, but the birthday boy wasn’t there to blow out the candles.
Rios Gutierrez’s son, Enrique Rios, who turned 18 on Jan. 2, has been missing for more than a year. The teen’s disappearance, along with that of Elijah Moore, a friend and fellow student at Cesar Chavez Community School in Woodland, in the fall of 2016 is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Woodland Police Department.
“It’s looking like investigators don’t have any more leads to be able to arrest people,” Rios Gutierrez said Tuesday.
Although authorities have told her they believe their investigation is headed in the right direction, she said, they need someone to come forward with conclusive evidence or information.
Rios Gutierrez said her family had considered holding a community event on her son’s birthday to keep the case before the public, but settled instead on a private observance. They gathered on New Year’s Day for family photos, posing with Enrique’s framed 10th-grade photo.
Enrique Rios and Elijah Moore took high school classes in the morning at Cesar Chavez Community School in Woodland and were enrolled in a construction program, learning carpentry skills, in the afternoon.
Rios Gutierrez last saw her son Oct. 17, 2016. The last communication she received from him was in the form of text messages. One said he had fallen asleep at a friend’s house and was on his way to school. Later, he texted that he was under too much pressure and was going away for a while but would return. Rios Gutierrez has said that her son ran away from home before but always returned in three or four days.
Elijah Moore’s mother, Alicia Moore, last heard from her son on Nov. 4, 2016. He told her he was going after school to cash a check at California Check Cashing at 115 Main St., in Woodland. Woodland police reported that a text message sent two days later on Elijah’s cellphone stated that he was en route to the Bay Area. That message was sent to a friend of Elijah’s, who cooperated with police in their investigation into Elijah’s disappearance.
The FBI released security camera video of Moore at California Check Cashing. The video shows him entering the business, speaking with a cashier and leaving with a paper in his hand.
FBI officials have said that investigators are working under the assumption that leads to one of the young men will lead to the other.
“We keep hoping that he can come home soon, or we can find answers to what happened to him,” Rios Gutierrez said Tuesday.